Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Time for us to secure Donegal Celtic home: McAllister

Donegal Celtic have to stop being as hospitable on the pitch as the club is off it, according to no-nonsense manager Pat McAllister.

Celtic Park and previous Donegal Celtic teams playing there have never provided a confortable afternoon for opponents — until this season.

Having jumped off the foot of the Danske Bank Premiership courtesy of last Friday's scoreless draw at Ballinamallard, McAllister says it's time the wee hoops got tough at home, starting with the visit of teak-tough Crusaders today.

He said: “We need to make Crusaders, and all teams, uncomfortable about coming to Celtic Park.

“We should be giving nothing away at home. Teams used to hate coming to our venue because we were well organised, fit and had a great team spirit.”

Having made his presence heard and felt in a few shorts weeks since replacing Stephen Small at Celtic, McAllister believes his league strugglers will improve in the crucial weeks ahead.

After a win over Glentoran, defeats to Glenavon and Linfield, and that draw with 'Mallards, he reflected: “I’m delighted to be back and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been pleased with the performances and I can see the boys getting fitter and stronger every week.

“The players had just got into bad habits before I took over, and that’s not me having a go at anyone.

“Confidence was low, we hadn’t won in a long time and the brutal honest truth is that the training wasn’t good enough.

“We were only training two hours a week — one hour on a Tuesday and one on a Thursday, so we’ve just changed what had to be changed.

“The only way we are going to get out of the position we’re in is through sheer hard work. The only place players will improve is on the training ground.

“You can sit and talk football with them as long as you want, but the only place where they will improve their fitness and do what you want them to do is on the training pitch.”